On Friday, the White House Office of Public Engagement hosted over 60 Historically Black College and University (HBCU) student veterans and Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) students from seven HBCUs for the White House Student Veterans and Cadets Forum. This was a first-of-its-kind event to amplify the President’s ongoing commitment to supporting HBCUs, service members, veterans, and their families. Additionally, the event highlighted the Administration’s historic investments in educational equity through HBCUs, the support for service members, veterans, their families, and it recognized 2023 as the 75th Anniversary of Executive Order 9981 signed by President Harry Truman to integrate the Armed Forces.
During the forum, participants heard from Biden-Harris Administration officials including:

  • Keisha Lance Bottoms, Senior Advisor to the President for Public Engagement
  • Dr. Kathleen Hicks, Deputy Secretary of Defense
  • John Kirby, Coordinator for Strategic Communications for the White House National Security Council
  • Dr. Dietra Trent, Executive Director of White House Initiative on HBCUs
  • Rose Vela, Director of Commission on White House Fellowships
  • Tanya Bradsher, Chief of Staff of Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Colonel Mike Patrick, Chief of Staff of White House Military Office
  • Colonel Joe Funderburke, Director of Strategic Planning at the White House National Security Council
  • Jimmy Anderson, Director of Veterans Engagement, White House Office of Public Engagement 

White House officials discussed how the Biden-Harris Administration will continue to support veterans and the military-connected community by leveraging the Administration’s historic investments in education, equity, veterans’ health care, and the strengthening of the Department of Defense’s partnerships with HBCUs.


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